He has never been late to work in the past three decades; is probably the only one in the civil secretariat who dons his uniform and for all his troubles,Kewal,the main civil secretariats most punctual peon,is among the 32 civilians who will be awarded by the Punjab government at this years Independence Day celebrations.
The selected 32 represent various fields and range from the courageous to conservationists to artistes and authors. Ludhiana-based Municipal Corporation employee,Amarjit Singh Jolly,made it to the list after he helped police foil an escape bid by undertrials on September 7,2009. Six dreaded criminals fled from police custody while they were being brought back from the Central Jail in a police bus. The criminals threw red-chilli powder on the policemen and jumped off the bus. I nabbed one of them and later helped police arrest the rest, Amarjit said.
Akraman Singh,a Sangrur-based advocate,saved a drowning child in the Dhuri canal. I saw a group of children bathing in the canal. One got caught in the current and began shouting for help. Several persons gathered around and I jumped in and rescued him, said Akraman Singh who holds a doctorate degree in human rights.
40-year-old Shital Prakash is being honoured for his efforts in turning garbage dumps into forests. He is credited with turning the Abohar canal tributary in Sudhar,Ludhiana,into a lush green forest. Gurmukh Singh Lalli,a resident of Barnala,gets the award for his unique collection of over 25,000 gramophone records. He has the 152-year-old original sound tracks and has records containing speeches of John F Kennedy,Subhash Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Among the better known on the honours list is Ninder Ghugianvi,Punjabi author and renowned columnist. Ninder,a Faridkot resident,is only a matriculate but his books are taught to MA and BA students while he himself has been the subject of research by students.
Amritsar-based handicraft artist Amritpal Singh gets the award for creating the worlds smallest chess board in a bulb and in a bottle. He also makes wooden sculptures and has made it to the Limca book of World Records.
Prof Mohammad Habib from the department of religious studies at the Punjabi University in Patiala has provided original Sufi literature in Punjabi. His colleague Dr Rajwant Kaur Punjabi of the Punjabi department gets the award for authoring 12 books and translating works from Urdu,Persian and Hindi.
Gurtej Singh,a farmer-turned-inventor from Bathinda,makes the cut for his user-friendly farm equipment like the straw collector,stalk harvester and fodder harvester. Ludhiana-based gynaecologist Dr Neelam Sodhi gets the award for working with children with disabilities while Dr Jagbir Singh of Patiala is being honoured for creating awareness on cancer and AIDS.
Kewal Dhaliwal,renowned Amritsar-based theatre actor,director and playwright gets the award for his contribution to performing arts while Dr Sukhpal Singh and Dr H S Dhaliwal of the Punjab Agricultural University,Ludhiana,are to be awarded for their contribution to rural and agriculture research.
Dr Madhu Prashar,principal of the Dev Samaj Post Graduate College for Women in Ferozepur,has been selected for her role in the field of education while Ludhiana businessman Amit Jain makes the cut for promoting business in the state.
Hockey player and Olympian Balwinder Singh Shami is to get it for sports while Paramjit Singh and Jaswir Kaur,volunteers of the Nehru Yuva Kendra,are being honoured for social work. Sangrur resident Dr Harpreet Singh Bhandari gets the award for his contribution in the field of naturopathy and yoga while Amrik Singh,a resident of Faizlapur village in Amloh,is on the list for blood donation.
Other awardees include Deveek Nandan Khar of Ludhiana,Meena Sharma of Mukerian,Manjit Singh of Muktsar,Varinder Kumar Lakhanpal of Amritsar,Jyoti Sarup of Hoshiarpur,Pradeep Kumar of Muktsar,Sikander Singh Tiwana of Patiala,Harsukhpreet Singh of Moga,Manjit Singh of Muktsar and Brig (retd) Manjeet Singh of Jalandhar.